At 65 years old, a man by the name of Harland, was broke and unemployable. A sixth-grade dropout, he had tried almost every profession imaginable, among them were working as a farmhand, a short stint as an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur and he even tried selling tires. He successfully succeeded in failing at everything. The year was 1955 there was no Internet, no 24/7 news bulletins, television was still black and white and the world was recovering from a second World War. But Harland had one thing going for him – a secret recipe of herbs and spices for cooking his chicken. By 1965 Harland Sanders, better known as ‘Colonel Sanders’, had 600 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises throughout America and had sold the business for $2 million. According to a basic inflation calculator provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that $2 million would be worth $15.5 million today. Not bad for a guy who years before had not a dime to his name. What does this tell us? That no matter what era or decade we are in, you are never too old to be an entrepreneur. It is now probably easier than ever with the advent of technology to be your own boss. There is no doubt that small companies, self-employed and entrepreneurships is a growing trend around the world and you can easily be a part of this stampede but there are some basic considerations you need to get right.
10 tips to being an entrepreneur:
This is at the core of any entrepreneur. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to believe in you? Did you know that James Dyson built 5,127 prototypes of his Dyson vacuum cleaner before he was happy to put it on the market? It took him five years and a lot of persistence but he never gave up.
2. Your product or service must be different.
No matter what you are planning to put to the market, whether there is already a version of the product or service available, you must have a point of difference. It must be easier to use, cheaper, better quality materials, superior service, offer enhanced performance, premium product/service and the list goes on. Find your point of difference and market that factor. Innovation is a reward in itself.
3. You must have passion
Most people are stuck in jobs that they don’t like so there is no point going to launch something that you are only half-hearted about. Don’t commit to anything unless you are committed to see the idea through from concept to fruition and you love what you are doing.
4. Do your market research
Don’t spend hours and hours inventing something only to find it already exists and you have produced an exact replica. Investigate around the world to see what is out there, what works, what doesn’t, what consumers want and what selling price they will pay for your product or service.
5. Learn from your mistakes
The reality is that you will make plenty of them so ‘toughen up princess’ and learn to adapt quickly to changing market conditions. Accept the fact you will get some things wrong both in the concept stage and in marketing execution but be flexible enough to adapt quickly to respond to consumer needs.
6. Follow your intuition
You will never get a better guide in business than what your ‘gut feel’ is telling you. You know it is true. No matter if everyone is telling not to do something, if your intuition is pushing you one way, follow it. At the very least you will have been true to yourself.
7. Understand and acknowledge your limitations
You can’t be good or great at everything, so don’t be too proud to get other people involved to help you become a success. Don’t try and control every aspect of the process and/or business. It will drive you mad. You can’t do everything.
8. Surround yourself with intelligent people
You may have come up with a great idea, but that doesn't mean you can’t seek advice from marketing, strategy and finance experts. There are individuals and/or companies who specialize in new product launches, branding and business plans, so use them to help you become a success.
9. Don’t sacrifice quality
Too many products have failed because someone decided to cut corners somewhere. It is an all too common story. Great ideas to improve service have also failed because proper training wasn’t instigated. Believe in quality and live it everyday, pushing that mantra through your company, so it becomes an over-riding philosophy.
10. Stay healthy
This might seem basic advice but unless you exercise and eat properly, you will ‘drown’ yourself in your idea and lose all perspective on reality. You need balance and you won’t achieve anything if you get unwell or have no energy. Exercise clears the mind and may just help you unlock that problem that has been bothering you.
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